Throughout the summer, Skandalaris Center Summer Internship Program participants will be writing guest blog posts about their internship experience. Following is one such post.
By Eric Zhang (BU ’21)
My name is Eric Zhang and I’m a rising junior at WashU studying Finance and Computer Science. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at SimulPass(formerly known as Regavi) through the Skandalaris Center Internship Program. The whole experience provided me with insights of how a startup operates on a daily basis and allowed me to explore the whole startup ecosystem based in St. Louis. It was truly a summer I will never forget.
SimulPass is a decentralized personal information database and universal identity management system. It provides a simpler and more secure way of digital networking when compared to the existing social media platforms. User’s information will be stored on a decentralized Ethereum sidechain, which allows the user to safely share it with the others.
My day-to-day work usually consisted of business and mobile app development. Because of my academic background, I was able to contribute to both the marketing and developing team. Shortly after I joined SimulPass, the team made the decision to go through the process of pivoting and rebranding. Part of my role as a marketing team was to develop a pre-launch strategy and design a crowd-fund campaign for the newly developed product. I spent a lot of time researching the market and analyzing data to identify the most cost-efficient way to generate buzz around the brand and product. For the other half of the time as a mobile app developer, I was redesiging the user interface, adding on new features and improving its performance. One of the biggest challenges I came across was when I had to integrate the mobile app with blockchain technology, an area I had no relevant experience in. I spent a large portion of my time just trying to understand the basic of the decentralized network. After I had a general idea of how this technology functions, I started to test out some of the theories and functions on a test network. Eventually, I was able to implement the Ethereum sidechain in a test app.
It has been a fascinating time working for SimulPass, watching it grow throughout the summer. I am really excited to see that the work I’ve done in these 10 weeks had a direct impact on the company. It has also been a great experience learning from my work, my colleagues and the industry, and interacting with the local startup community. I learned many valuable lessons that I couldn’t have learned in school lectures. This has been a truly amazing summer that I will never forget. I am grateful for the Skandalaris Center to make this journey possible.